I am often pleasantly surprised when I end up enjoying a book that has been hyped up everywhere. I’m not sure what it is that makes me instantaneously suspicious of any book that makes it huge, but from time to time I read something that has been heavily recommended to me by every person and media outlet in the developed world and totally don’t see what all the fuss is about *cough*twilighttheluminariesorangeisthenewblack*cough* This year there have been some exceptions, including Gone Girl, The Glass Castle, and Wild.
Cheryl Strayed was 22 when her mother passed away, and she thought her life would never get back on track. Four years later she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail without any experience or training, and she wanted to do it SOLO. Being someone who suffers from a generalized anxiety disorder, this essentially horrifies me; being alone, the unfamiliar, night time and darkness, being in the middle of nowhere, and the deep woods all being items on my mental list of things that cause me to freak the f*ck out. I also have a strangely irrational fear of death by bear attack, but perhaps that’s a product of the region I grew up in. I digress. Cheryl Strayed is clearly a superhero because she tackles all this in a stride when she sets out with an incredibly over-sized pack and boots 1 size too small. Then she rocks the trail all the way to the end, at one point even having to travel in duct tape booties after losing her shoes over a cliff. Bow down to this woman, she deserves our applause for her resourcefulness and perseverance! Sure, she probably could have been a bit better informed and I’m almost positive there are people out there shaking their heads at her decision to surge ahead into something she was completed unprepared for, but she made it and her memoir of the experience was very well written and entertaining. I wish she had included some of her photos from the trail, but hey you can’t have everything. This one deserves the hype!